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Gibraltar: Territory Passes Civil Partnerships Bill

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Gibraltar

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Same sex couples in the tiny island territory of Gibraltar can now form civil partnerships.

On Top Magazine reports:

Lawmakers in Gibraltar have approved a bill that recognizes gay and lesbian couples with civil partnerships. The 2.3 square mile island off the coast of Spain is home to almost 30,000 citizens; its Rock of Gibraltar is a major tourist destination. Gay and straight couples may enter a civil partnership, which provides many of the benefits and obligations of marriage, including the right to adopt.

It’s an important step for the island’s LGBT community. Next up, marriage equality???

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Ireland: Same Sex Marriages from Other Countries to Be Recognized

Monday, February 10th, 2014

irelandIreland will recognize marriages from the UK as civil partnerships, and then as marriages if the proposed marriage equality referendum passes there in 2015.

The Independent reports:

SAME-SEX couples who travel from Ireland to marry in the UK will have their status recognised in this country if next year’s referendum is passed. A Department of Justice spokesman last night confirmed that – prior to the referendum – same-sex marriages in England and Wales would be recognised as civil partnerships in Ireland. If the referendum allowing same sex marriage in Ireland is passed, however, unions that took place in 45 foreign countries will be granted retrospective recognition as marriages in this jurisdiction. These include France, New Zealand, Canada, Uruguay, The Netherlands, Argentina, Spain, New York and Norway.

“A same-sex marriage contracted in England or Wales would be recognised as a marriage in Ireland, from the date on which same-sex marriage were to become available here, should the referendum to be held during the first half of 2015 pass,” the Department of Justice said in a statement.

It’s a good step. Polls look promising in Ireland, where various polls over the last two years have pegged support between 57 and 76%.

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UK: Couple Sues Government for Delay Converting Civil Partnership to Marriage

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Big BenA UK couple is not happy that they may have to wait an extra year before their civil partnership can become a marriage.

Gay Star News reports:

A British couple is to take legal action over the delay in being able to turn their civil partnership into a marriage. While the first gay couples will be able to marry on 29 March, those already in civil partnerships will have to wait until the end of the year. Paul and Michael Atwal-Brice have said they have waited long enough, giving formal notification to the government they will be taking legal action. They hope a judge will rule the government has failed to implement section nine of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) act, which allows conversions to take place.

Seriously, it does seem to be taking the UK government long enough to implement the new gay marriage law, let alone the extra time it is taking for converting existing civil partnerships. Does the UK just have an exceptionally hidebound bureaucracy? Or…?

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Ireland: 2600 Entered Into Civil Partnerships in 2013

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Ireland Civil PartnershipsThis just in from Ireland’s Gay + Lesbian Equality Network:

Civil Partnerships have proven to be a huge success in Ireland with figures up to the end of 2013 showing that over 2,600 people have entered into a civil partnership. The figures also show that civil partnerships have been truly national with couples in every single county entering into a civil partnership..

“Civil Partnerships are a resounding success. Lesbian and gay couples in every county in Ireland have celebrated their love and commitment to each other in front of family, friends and neighbours. In doing so, these couples have contributed enormously to the remarkable progress towards marriage and full constitutional equality for lesbian and gay couples and families” said Tiernan Brady, Policy director with GLEN

Many hundreds more lesbian and gay couples have celebrated their commitment by entering civil partnerships or getting married abroad. These couples’ foreign legal relationships are recognised in Ireland as civil partnerships.

The Civil Partnership Act passed through the Oireachtas in July 2010 and the first public civil partnership was celebrated in April 2011. Civil Partnership provides almost all the legal rights and obligations that apply to civil marriage.

So, where are there most lesbian and gay civil partners across the country?

Dublin 8 is the most popular metropolitan area, with 100 couples from there having civil partnerships followed by Dublin 7 with 70 couples. There were 728 civil partnerships in total for lesbian and gay couples living in Dublin city and county

Cork is the most popular area in Munster, with 106 couples celebrating civil partnerships: 41 from Cork city and 65 from the rest of the county

In Connaught, it’s Galway, with 44 couples, 23 from the city of Galway and 21 from across the county

After County Dublin, Co. Kildare is the most popular in Leinster, with 40 couples from there having civil partnerships, and

Ulsters’ Donegal is the most popular with 12 couples.

“The huge welcome for civil partnerships throughout the country shows that Ireland is ready to take the next step to provide for civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples” said Brady.

“We warmly welcome the government commitment to hold a referendum on equal access to civil marriage in early 2015. We firmly believe that the people of Ireland will continue their warm welcome of lesbian and gay couples and families and that a yes vote will be carried in a referendum that would provide access to civil marriage and full constitutional equality” concluded Brady.

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UK, England/Wales: Confusion Abounds Over Start Date for Marriage Equality

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Big BenSome same-sex couples will have to wait an extra nine months to get married in the UK.

Gay Star News reports:

…couples in civil partnerships are being left disappointed when they realized they were unable to get married on 29 March. It is expected they will have to wait until the end of the year to convert their civil partnerships into marriages. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has explained it will take longer for couples in civil partners to get married as computer systems have to be reformed. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has explained it will take longer for couples in civil partners to get married as computer systems have to be reformed. Paul and Michael Atwal-Brice from Barnsley were told they must dissolve their civil partnership if they wanted to get married on the historic date. ‘We’re being penalized because we’re in a civil partnership,’ Paul Atwal-Brice told Gay Star News.

The UK does seem to be having a lot of difficulty getting its act together to implement last year’s marriage equality law, don’t they?

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Europe: High Court Rules That Civil Unions Must Carry Equal Benefits to Marriage

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Europe: Twenty Seven Different Interests on Gay MarriageThe European Union’s high court just ruled that countries that don’t give same-sex couples for marriage equality must offer the same benefits under civil unions or civil partnerships.

Edge Boston reports:

The EU Court of Justice ruled Thursday in the case of Frederic Hay, a French bank worker who was denied the extra leave and bonuses given to married employees after he entered into a civil pact with his male partner. At the time, French law restricted marriage to people of different sexes. The European Court called Hay’s situation “direct discrimination based on sexual orientation.” French law and the bank’s collective bargaining agreement have changed since. But a court spokesman said Thursday’s ruling now sets an EU-wide standard.

So is this ruling a step forward for Europe’s same-sex couples? Or an excuse for countries to sidestep full marriage equality? Or both?

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Israel: President Shimon Peres Backs Civil Partnerships for Gays

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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The president of Israel has publicly backed a bill to give civil partnership rights to same sex couples.

The Washington Blade reports:

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Sunday publicly backed marriage rights for same-sex couples. “Even a person who is a homosexual is a human being, and he has rights,” he told the news website Ynetnews during an interview while he was in Mexico on a state visit. “We cannot take away someone’s rights because they are different. We cannot take away their right to breathe, right to eat or right to start a family. We must allow everyone to live as is natural to them.” Ynetnews reported Peres’ comments came in response to questions about a bill in the Israeli parliament that seeks to extend civil partnerships to same-sex couples.

Peres’s statement could give new life to the bill. Although, as the Blade notes, Peres’s role is largely ceremonial.

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Greece: Few Opt for Civil Partnerships

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

GreeceApparently Greeks know a cheap product when they see it – few are opting for skim-milk marriage.

Ekathimerini.com reports:

Few in Greece have embraced the institution of civil unions even though legislation allowing couples to have their partnership legally recognized without getting married was first introduced in 2008. The main causes behind this reluctance appear to be a lack of awareness about the institution and how it works, prejudice toward this form of partnership in a country where the Orthodox Church’s authority is still held in high esteem and plays a strong traditional role, as well as the law itself, which presents its own obstacles. In the year after the law was first introduced, the number of couples joined in civil unions came to 161, rising only slightly in 2010 and 2011 to 180 and 185 respectively. The number rose significantly in 2012, reaching 314, while data suggest that 2013 will also see an increase in couples opting for a civil partnership.

This follows a pattern we’ve seen in recent years – as some states and countries have gained full marriage equality, civil unions and partnerships have lost a lot of their allure. Why settle for half a loaf?

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United Kingdom: More Thank 60K Civil Partnerships in 7 Years

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

titleA new report gives us an idea of how many UK citizens took advantage of the country’s civil partnerships law over the last 7 years.

Pink News reports:

More than 60,000 civil partnerships have taken place in the UK since the legislation first came into force, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show. The average age of men forming a civil partnership in 2012 was 40, while for women the average age was 37.6. The average age at which heterosexual men get married is 30.8 years, while heterosexual women are typically aged 28.9 years when they tie the knot. Over the eight-year period between civil partnership legislation coming into force in December 2005 and the end of December 2012, 60,454 civil partnerships were formed in the UK, equivalent to 120,908 civil partners.

How many of these couples will now get married when the new law comes into effect next year?

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Ireland: Average Civil Union Participant’s Age is 44

Monday, September 30th, 2013

irelandA new survey shows the average age of same sex couples entering into civil unions in Ireland.

Pink News reports:

According to Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) the average age of partners in the 536 couples entering civil partnership was 44.3, (44.7 for men and 43.8 for women). This compares with 34.6 years for a groom entering marriage and 32.5 years for a bride. 536 couples entered into civil partnerships in 2011, the first year they became available in the Republic. In total since then, 1,088 lesbian and gay couples had entered civil partnerships across every county in Ireland. A further 250 couples had given notice by the end of June 2013 that they will enter civil partnerships later this year.

The higher age for same sex couples is not surprising, given what a backlog there must have been…

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